Today I had to fly down to Palo Alto for work. The good part is that I flew in the "Otter" - the small HP plane that ferries between Roseville and the San Jose. The Otter is a small 15-seat prop plane. Here's a picture I could find: http://www.aoc.noaa.gov/aircraft_otter.htm, though the HP Otter seemed shorter and boxier. The Otter is supposedly the favored plane of Central and South American drug runners because of its short takeoff and landing requirements.
It takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like a truck ("Good. What is a truck?"). While flying, the plane will be tooling along and then it will suddenly slide sideways in the air like it's on ice. It only flies at about 7000 feet so you can see everything on the ground very clearly. I could see the school and the park next to my house. It's an awesome ride.
The bad part was flying with a cold. On the return trip my ears clogged up and they still haven't fully cleared. Hopefully they will clear up soon because I'm going to Texas Thursday and flying with congestion sucks tremendously. My tubes close up with gunk and all I can hear is muffled high-pitched tones and a sound like cloth tearing (or ice cracking) when I swallow. Lovely, just lovely.
Soon, I'll post on my Norwescon experience. Overall, it was a fantastic trip and well worth it.